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After the substance of some of the shorter Essays which compose this volume had been drawn, up and printed in a little tract, for gratuitous or cheap circulation among the more serious part of our brave tars, under the title of “ The Seaman's Spy-glass," it was thought, that some further Essays might be added; which, together with anecdotes and reflections on actual events, which passed under the writer's notice, might, altogether, form a little book, not wholly uninteresting or unprofitable to some pious officers and intelligent maritime youths, as well as to a few non-nautical Christians on shore.
Certainly, the Scriptures have authorized this mode of instruction. They have often thus compared and illustrated divine truths; and no one who attentively reads the Bible, and is acquainted with the sea and naval affairs, can for a moment doubt, whether these do not furnish many striking emblems and illustrations of the shortness and uncertainty of time of the emptiness and vanity of all which this world calls great and good of the pri. vilege and importance of laying up a treasure in heaven, and of making the Creator and Judge of all the world our friend in time and in eternity.
Knowing that most seafaring people, and many serious characters on shore, have not leisure to read much at any one time, the writer has, in a few instances, brought forward some parts of the same truths under different heads. This to a person who should read all the Essays at one or two sittings, might appear like tedious repetition: but such will bear in mind, that many readers will take up the work, and peruse only a few pages, before duty, or some other circumstance, may cause them to lay it by. Hence it was thought better to give « line upon line, and precept upon precept," than to run the risk of not bringing sufficiently often before the reader what was considered of importance to be always on his mind.
In the reflections on the battle of Trafalgar, the writer has pointed out some errors in religious sena timents, and some failures in Christian obligations; which, though found in men of exalted rank and public fame, he considered it his duty to notice, lest some officers in lower stations and of less distinction should be tempted rather to imitate the frailties and mistakes, than the virtues and commendable actions of these their superiors,
Psalm cxlvi. 5, 6.
Ye know not what shall be on the morrow.-James,
iv. 14. .................................